Date: Saturday, July 18
Party: Vu, Dan T, Kim L, Kim's classmates
Outside our dorm, there is a local convenient mart, a small eatery, and a pancake like shop where we can enjoy a very cheap meal and supplies. These places were the basis of our future bargaining decisions, because here, we have to bargain about everything.
Kim was scheduled to tour with her class, and Dan and I were lucky enough to hop on the same van, so we didn't have to worry about transport, but of course, we had to pay for our own entrance fee, which at times were an adventure itself. The first stop was the summer palace. There are rails to help form a line outside the ticket booth, but it did not seem to really matter. Dan was standing in front of the line, but then there were 4 others from his side and behind who tried to sneak the money past him, and the teller accepted it. We just dazed at each other and was like wtf... but even that gave the 4 others around us to sneak their admission fees past us. You just have to slap others around and squeeze your way through, thats just the way.
Dan and I bought the full admission, allowing us to travel all parts of the palace, meaning we get to exert more sweat climbing more stairs and exploring more paths. It was only mid morning, but it was already starting be unbearable.
The palace was huge, and we ended going up to multiple towers. Ice cream never had tasted so good. After exploring around the big lake with the millions of Lotus plants in bloom, the van takes us to the forbidden city. Forbidden my ass, it was incredibly crowded. That's what you get for going on a Saturday in the summer. Many of the places were just packed, and walkways were elbow to elbow. We didn't really get a good chance to explore around much and enjoy what the Forbidden city had to offer.
Crossing the street, we get to walk through Tienanmen Square, where we eventually had to crawl through a bunch of vendors selling Mao memorabilia. I was thinking what a scene it would cause if you bought a Mao keychain, threw it down on Tienanmen Square, and stepped on it. It would probably not be a good idea, especially after the recent riots in Urumqi. Due to those events, logging on to facebook (and apparently twitter) were blocked.
With no real point on hanging around the internet, we made our way that evening to Wangfujing market, where you can find exotic creatures ready to be eaten. Starfish, scorpions, beetles, sea horses, and probably some others weird things. They just hang on a skewer and the worst part was that you can actually see the scorpion legs move!